Monday, March 5, 2012

To Celebrate International Women's Day: Songs from the Balkans About Women and Girls

A man's work is from sun to sun, but a woman's work is never done.
source unknown

One holiday that I particularly like is International Women's Day, March 8th. Although I knew of its existence, I didn't pay much attention to it until my daughters started elementary school. The school that they went to had a large population of Russian immigrants, and a number of their teachers had emigrated to the United States from Russia during the early 1990's.

The Russian faculty gave a celebration dinner at the school every year for International Women's Day and invited the entire student body and their parents. They gave carnations to the women and girls attending and after the dinner, the teachers spoke of the importance of this holiday and the achievements of famous women.

Although in the States March is Women's History Month, in general International Women's Day is unfortunately, not really observed here. Too bad, because we need a day of our own.

Today's post celebrates International Women's Day with some beautiful songs from the Balkans about women and girls, sung by women and girls (with the exception of Kune, Mome). After all, the Alien Diaries is an Equal Opportunity Blog :) You won't find any radical feminism in these folk songs, but that's the way things were back in the old days. You will find that out by reading the lyrics.

"There is no girl as beautiful as a girl from Macedonia" is the refrain of the song Makendonsko Devojce. The singer is Karolina Goceva, from Macedonia.

Lyrics for this song can be found here:

The group, Semya, from Holland performs Rusi Kosi, a folk song from Bulgaria. Two women sing accompanied by two men (on cello and drums) and a woman on an accordion. The song is about a blonde named Elena who needs a comb, powder for her face, and a man to love. Too bad she doesn't have loftier ambitions :)

You can find the lyrics here (in Bulgarian and German, but not in English)

The Alien Diaries is an Equal Opportunity Blog. Although the subject of the song is female (her name is Kune), the band is almost entirely male, although if you look closely you can find the single female flutist. This is a very modern and lively brass arrangement of a traditional Bulgarian folk song. I get the impression from the lyrics that the person singing to Kune is looking to seduce her with some wine and rakia. Hmmmm.....something a guy would do:) The gaida (bagpipe) solo in here is out of this world.

This little girl is a show stopper, and the voice on her is really amazing for someone so young. She sings the beautiful Macedonian folk song Jovano Jovanke about a woman named Jovana, who's washing some linens on the banks of the Vardar River. (Sounds like a woman's work is never done, and doing the laundry is all in a day's work). Her mom watches proudly from the sidelines.

According to the person who posted this video, it was taken in Semlitsa, Bulgaria, and if you look closely you can catch a glimpse of the Bulgarian flag. This song is popular in Bulgaria as well as Macedonia.

you can find the lyrics for Jovano Jovanke here:

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Women's Dances from the Balkans (last year's International Women's Day post)

If you like modern versions of traditional Bulgarian folk songs, this post is for you:

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